It Begins with a Countdown and Ends with Everlasting Friendships


The screens flanking the stage instantly turn black.


The arena fills with exhilarating music.


The stage lights erupt in a flamboyant display.


The roar of the audience is overbearing.


It’s showtime.

It’s the countdown at opening session – an exciting tradition at every DECA conference – and at the Ultimate DECA Power Trip in Baltimore, Maryland, this tradition strongly continued. Any person, DECA member or not, in this room can feel the insanely contagious energy. It is a moment like no other.

Following the explosion of pure excitement, I was privileged to be walking up on stage to welcome all attendees to the conference as your North Atlantic Region Vice President along with Dylan Heneghan, your Southern Region Vice President. That moment absolutely ignited every nerve on my spine; I truly felt a sense of belonging, unlike any other feeling I felt about DECA before this past week in Baltimore, Maryland for the Ultimate DECA Power Trip.

This past weekend close to 1,000 members and advisors gathered near the world-famous Inner Harbor for one of my favorite conferences of the year. Any DECA member can probably echo repeatedly what I am about to say. If I could recap #DECAPowerTrip in one word, it would be networking.

Opening Session may have begun with members sitting privately with their association officer teams or chapters, but by closing sessions the room was mixed. It is a sight I was so lucky to notice. For example, the bonds created by association officers became so strong, even to the point of combing names (yes, I am referring to Penntario).

It amazed me how connected the attendees became after just one weekend at a DECA conference. Besides the general sessions, the night shared the National Aquarium for DECA after Dark was the absolute highlight of the friendship curated while we indulge in a night of fun taking in the aquamarine life, ice cream sundae bar, and dance floor.

I want to challenge each DECA member, Power Trip attendee or not, to utilize your network of DECA members while you are a current member, but most importantly when you are alumni. DECA offers a space for the world’s most talented and passionate high school students to come together, generate ideas, and perfect soft skills to propel our world towards the future each generation at a time. Later down the road, a fellow DECA member may be sitting on the other side of the interview or working side by side on a corporate project. Stay connected and formulate the foundation of these everlasting friendships now to last a lifetime.


Follow Rachel on Twitter @DECAVPRachel. Follow DECA on Twitter @decainc.

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